Go Green: simple ways your office can support the planet (and save money!)

We all want to do our part to make sure our planet stays beautiful, vibrant, and healthy, but it can be hard to know where to start, especially when working remotely or running your own business.

We have good news for you: besides saving time, working remotely can already reduce emissions because fewer people are driving for hours to commute! That’s one small thing that can really add up.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

We all learned the three Rs in school and they can absolutely be applied in your home office. Looking for a new desk lamp or shelf? See if your local thrift or vintage store has anything – you can find some amazing items at a steal of a price. We love Mr Mansfield and Bex Vintage in Calgary for mid-century and other retro finds. You can also save money and the environment by only buying supplies that you need and reusing items like paper and envelopes before recycling them. Sure, you tore that envelope, and it can’t be used to send another letter, but you can use it to jot down notes. Only buying what you need also helps reduce office clutter.

Go paperless as much as possible

A completely paperless office may not be feasible for everyone, but simply reducing how much you use can have significant effects. Only print documents when it’s absolutely necessary and print double-sided if possible. If something needs a signature, services like Docusign allow you to securely sign documents without the hassle of printing and scanning, thus saving you time, too. If you love sticky notes, try using a whiteboard to jot down your ideas on instead.

Use eco-friendly office supplies

Sometimes we can’t escape the need for office supplies, so we can aim to purchase conscientiously as much as possible. Buying recycled paper is one easy way to do this, as is avoiding supplies that are packaged in plastic, since many plastics can’t be recycled. There are also office supplies companies that have embraced more sustainable practices in manufacturing and delivery.

If you’re in Zoom calls (or Focus Bubbles!) a lot and want to look your best, there are also companies that make eco-friendly hygiene products - better for you and the environment.

Light up your life

Optimizing the light in your office can have an impact on your mood and productivity, but it can also affect how eco-friendly your office is. Using natural light as much as possible can help reduce energy use (and save you money on your electric bill!). If your natural light isn’t sufficient, opt for energy efficient light bulbs. They often last longer than traditional bulbs, too, so they’re good for the planet and your wallet.

Embrace your laptop

Not literally, of course, even if it probably deserves a hug for all its hard work. But laptops are more energy efficient than desktop computers, with laptops using 60 watts per hour compared to a desktop’s 175 watts per hour. A desktop is also continually drawing power because it’s plugged into a wall, while a laptop runs on battery when it’s not charging. Of course, energy consumption also depends on your equipment and how you use it. There are also ways to save energy if using a laptop isn’t possible.

Personal responsibility can only go so far in reducing humans’ environmental impact, but everyone doing whatever they can is the most important thing. If you want more advice on making your home office – and your life – a little greener, I’d recommend visiting Plastic-Free YYC and Zero Waste Canada.

Feel free to share your tips with us in case we missed something! Every little change has an impact.


Dawn O’Connor

I have over 30 years of experience working with more than 10,000 clients in helping people unlock their productivity potential. Personal productivity is my passion! Every day I am curious and excited to learn what people are working on. I can’t wait to see you in a Bubble!

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